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Qualitative Methods in Social Work Research

Qualitative Methods in Social Work Research

Third Edition

June 2016 | 352 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Qualitative Methods in Social Work Research provides accessible, how-to instruction for carrying out rigorous qualitative research. The thoroughly revised Third Edition offers a comprehensive introduction to qualitative methods based on six major approaches: ethnography, grounded theory, case study, narrative, phenomenological, and participatory action research. Readers will appreciate the book’s ease of use, friendly writing style, and helpful cases/examples that combine attention to methodological rigor with pragmatic concerns for real-world relevance. 

Chapter 1: Qualitative Methods in Context
Differences From and Similarities With Quantitative Methods  
The Intellectual Life Course of Qualitative Methods  
The Formative Years  
The Rise of Quantification and Operationalism  
Epistemological Differences Among Qualitative Researchers  
The Pragmatic Middle Ground  
Evidence-Based Practice and Implementation Science  
Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks in Qualitative Inquiry  
Some Are a Better Fit Than Others  
Analytic Induction and Abduction: Nondeductive Thinking  
The Importance of Concepts  
The Place and Timing of Theories in Qualitative Studies  
Reasons for Doing Qualitative Research  
Desirable Qualities and Skills in the Qualitative Researcher-as-Instrument  
Studying the Familiar Versus the Unfamiliar  
Values and Social Responsibility in Qualitative Research  
Introducing the New York Services Study (NYSS) and the New York Recovery Study (NYRS)  
Chapter 2: Choosing the Right Qualitative Approach(es)
Six Primary Approaches in Qualitative Research  
Grounded Theory  
Case Study Analysis  
Narrative Approaches  
Phenomenological Analysis  
Action and Community-Engaged Research  
The Six Approaches Revisited: Change over Time  
Mixing and Matching Qualitative Approaches: Risks and Benefits  
Introducing Strategies for Rigor and Trustworthiness  
Qualitative Methods in Program Evaluation and Implementation Research  
Chapter 3: Designing the Study and Getting Started
Prologue: Addressing Ethical Considerations Early On  
Flexible and Iterative Designs  
Choosing the Topic and Making the Argument  
Reviewing the Literature  
Developing a Conceptual Framework  
Formulating Research Questions  
Designing the Study  
Questions Posed (and Needing Answers) by Qualitative Research Designs  
The Element of Time  
Specific Aspects of Qualitative Designs  
Using Multiple Qualitative Methods at Different Levels  
Sampling and Selection Strategies  
Sample Size Considerations  
Recruiting and Retaining Study Participants  
How Many Interviews? Issues of Quantity and Quality  
Getting Permission(s) and Obtaining Rapport  
Presentation of Self  
Issues of Identity: Gender, Age, Race/Ethnicity, and Social Class  
Chapter 4: Ethical and Emotional Issues in Qualitative Research
Deception and Disclosure  
Informed Consent  
Coercion and “Deformed” Consent  
Confidentiality and Privacy  
Distress and Emotional Harm  
Incentives, Payback, and Maintaining Goodwill  
Institutional Review Boards and Qualitative Research  
Dealing With Moral Ambiguity and Risk  
Ethical Issues in Community-Engaged Research  
Ethical Issues in Cross-National Research  
Taking it Personally: Emotions in Qualitative Research  
Socially Responsible Research as Ethical Research  
Chapter 5: Data Collection: Observation, Interviewing and Use of Documents
Observation in Qualitative Studies  
“Doing” Observation: The Best (and Only True) Way to Learn  
Recording Observational Data  
In-Depth Interviewing  
Critiques of Interviewing: Realism and Authenticity  
Informal Field Interviews  
Focus Group Interviews  
Individual Interviews  
Linked Interviews  
Interviewing Children and Other Vulnerable Populations  
Key Informant, Elite, and Expert Interviews  
Developing the Interview Guide  
Elicitation Techniques in Qualitative Interviews  
Interview Guides for Second (and Third) Interviews  
A Few Guidelines for Starting Out  
Conducting the Interview: The Importance of Probes  
After the Interview  
Matching Interviewers to Respondents: The Effects of Age, Gender, Race, and Other Characteristics  
Common Problems and Errors in Qualitative Interviewing  
Emotional Issues in Interviewing  
Interviewing in a Non-English Language  
Interviewing Across the Digital Landscape  
Use of Audio and Video Recorders  
Using Documents and Other Archival Materials  
Ending Data Collection  
Chapter 6: Data Analysis
Data Management: Dealing With Volume Early On  
Using Qualitative Data Analysis (QDA) Software  
Teams, Multiple Users, and Cross-Site Databases  
Transcribing Interviews  
Translating and Transcribing in a Non-English Language  
Qualitative Data Analysis: Beginning The Search for Meaning  
Case Summaries  
Theories and Concepts in Qualitative Data Analysis  
Data Analysis in Diverse Qualitative Approaches  
Content Analysis  
Ethnography and Data Analysis  
Case Study Analysis  
Data Analysis in Narrative Approaches  
Phenomenological Analyses  
Action and Community-Based Participatory Research  
Analysis in Longitudinal Designs  
Analyzing Visual Data  
Varied Approaches to Coding and Co-Coding  
Starting Out: Identifying Code-Worthy Material  
Labeling Coded Material and Developing a Codebook  
Documenting Coding Procedures  
Comparing and Contrasting: Memo Writing as Forward Motion  
Secondary Analyses of Qualitative Data  
Hybrid and Mixed Qualitative Approaches  
Chapter 7: Interpretation: Recognizing Salience
The Role of the Researcher(s)  
Framing Devices to Assist in Interpretation  
Using Qualitative Data Analysis (QDA) Software for Interpretation  
Bringing Theor(ies) In  
An Example of a Conceptual Schema  
Salience Through Absence: What is Not Said (or Seen)  
Feminist and Other Critiques in Interpretation  
Rhetorical Devices  
Negative Case Analysis and Disconfirmation  
The Six Approaches Revisited  
Qualitative Meta-Synthesis as Meta-Interpretation  
In Pursuit of Methodological Transparency  
Chapter 8: Strategies for Rigor and Trustworthiness
Evaluating Qualitative Research: Standards and Strategies  
Evaluative Criteria and External Standards  
In the Eye of the Beholder?  
Attending to Rigor and Trustworthiness  
The Meaning(s) of Generalizability in Qualitative Methods  
Threats to the Trustworthiness of Qualitative Studies  
Strategies for Rigor in Qualitative Research  
Prolonged Engagement  
Triangulation of Data  
Peer Debriefing and Support  
Member Checking  
Negative Case Analysis  
Auditing—Leaving a Decision Trail  
Strategies for Rigor Applied to the Six Qualitative Approaches  
Dilemmas of Rigor in Action-Oriented Research  
Appraising Quality: The Rise of Checklists, Criteria and Guidelines  
In Search of the Big Tent: Balancing Rigor and Relevance  
Chapter 9: Telling the Story: Writing the Qualitative Study
Preparing to Write: Key Decision Points  
Identifying the Audience  
The Researcher’s Role in the Report  
Using Numbers in the Report  
Authorship and Coauthorship Decisions  
Authorship in and From Dissertations: A Negotiation With Few Rules  
Organizing the Report—Key Components  
Qualitative Reports Across the Diverse Approaches  
Balancing Description and Interpretation  
Writing Stance and Style  
Rhetorical Devices Suited to Qualitative Studies  
Writing Style: Rhythm and Grab  
Use of Metaphors and Other Tropes  
Challenges and Rewards of Publishing  
Criteria for Review: The Qualitative Dilemma  
Chapter 10: Mixed Methods
The Epistemology Question in Mixed Methods  
The Rise of Mixed Methods and Their Rationale(s)  
Integrating Mixed Methods  
Types of Mixed Methods Designs  
Sequential Designs  
Concurrent Designs  
Complicated Designs  
Mixed Methods: Ways of Going About It  
Structural and Design Decisions: What, When, and How?  
Incorporating Existing Measures Into Qualitative Interviews  
Quantifying Qualitative Data  
Examples of Mixed Methods Studies: Implementation and Action Research  
Writing the Mixed Methods Report  
Challenges for Mixed Methods Studies  
Mixed Method Approaches to Program and Practice Evaluation  
Appendix: Writing a Qualitative Methods Proposal for External Funding
Finding the Right Fit With Funding Priorities  
Getting Past the Catch–22  
Setting the Stage  
Questions From Proposal Reviewers  
Budgeting Time and Resources  
Twenty Tips for Writing the Proposal  
About the Author

“Padgett is the ultimate ‘pro’ researcher, methods expert, and communicator. This is the one book you need for master's study, professional practice research, doctoral study, and your continuing research agenda!”

Roberta Iversen
University of Pennsylvania

“Dr. Padgett’s text Qualitative Methods in Social Work Research is informative and easy for students to read and understand. The book offers clear advice to students about how to design and execute qualitative research studies.” 

Bruce Winston, Regent University

“Padgett uses her extensive experience to expertly achieve two seemingly contradictory ends: educate about the conceptual underpinnings of qualitative research methods, and provide the concrete steps needed to carry them out. As a research discipline that is often not fully understood by many, Qualitative Methods in Social Work Research will be appreciated by academics and students alike.”

Jessica Toft
University of St. Thomas and St. Catherine University

“Padgett knows how to make students and even lecturers curious about qualitative methods and she copes in her book very well the gap between an overview and a deeper understanding of research methods.”

Armin Schneider
University of Applied Sciences Koblenz

The book offers a good overview of qualitative methods that can be used within and beyond the field of social work- I think students struggling with the aims and methods of qualitative research can find it very helpful

Dr Mei Trueba
Health , Brighton and Sussex Medical School
October 12, 2016

A very informative and accessible resource for research and teaching!

Dr Gianina-Ioana Postavaru
Psychology, Bishop Grosseteste University
October 4, 2016

Received too late for current class. However, I would strongly recommend this text for any social research methods class. The book is filled with excellent examples and wonderful suggested readings at the end of each chapter. This is one of the most comprehensive approaches to qualitative research methods I have ever read. I believe this text would serve upper-division undergraduates and grasduate stduents very well.

Mr Billy Brocato
Sociology Dept, Texas A & M Univ-Clg Station
September 28, 2016
Key features

  • Expanded discussions of the six most commonly used qualitative approaches address ethnography, grounded theory, case study analysis, narrative approaches, phenomenological approaches, and action-oriented research.
  • Additional comprehensive coverage of topics includes action-oriented research, innovations in visual (photography and video) and Internet/online data collection, and recent advancements in meta-syntheses and implementation science.
  • Early introductions on ethical issues and strategies for rigor cover emotional issues for both researchers and study participants.
  • More in-depth discussion on cross-cultural and cross-language research prepares readers for engagement in community and multinational research.  
  • Data collection techniques in one chapter create a single point of reference for students and faculty to find examples of coding, use of ATLAS.ti software (including screenshots), codebook development, and online data collection.

  • A broad multidisciplinary perspective rooted in social work is applicable to other practice professions such as nursing, education, family and community medicine, public health, psychology, and public administration.
  • An emphasis on practical use is seen through exemplars of qualitative studies, information on computer software for qualitative data analysis, and detailed guidelines for writing a qualitative research proposal (Appendix).
  • Specific illustrative case examples from the literature and the author’s own research aid readers in understanding concepts.
  • A straightforward and conversational style makes this book accessible and engaging for readers.
  • Chapters thoughtfully organized follow the sequence of conducting a qualitative study, encouraging proper application of representative research methods.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 2

Chapter 6

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